Jim Boylan filed a lawsuit on Thursday claiming the Cavaliers "discriminatorily favor younger less qualified candidates and employees."
Former Cavaliers assistant coach Jim Boylan is suing the team for age discrimination, Ben Axelrod of WKYC3 reported.
Boylan, 63, served as one of Cleveland's assistants from 2013-2018 before he was fired last June. The ex-coach filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that the Cavaliers "discriminate against employees and candidates for employment on the basis of age with respect to hiring, renewal, termination, pay, raises, benefits, and in terms and conditions of employment."
The suit adds that the "defendants discriminatorily favor younger less qualified candidates and employees over substantially older employees."
According to court documents obtained by WKYC3, Boylan claims that former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue was the one who told him he was fired. Cleveland fired Lue on Oct. 28.
Lue left Boylan a voicemail that explained general manager Koby Altman and team owner Dan Gilbert's decision to fire the former assistant coach.
"[Altman] does not want to pick up your option," Lue said in the voicemail, per the filing. "He said it’s way too much money. They’re not gonna pay that kind of money for three assistants on the bench. He wants to go younger in that position and, you know, find somebody who’s a grinder and younger in that position."
Damon Jones, 42, ended up replacing Boylan as assistant coach. According to the suit, 45-year-old Mike Longabardi and 41-year-old James Posey also remained on staff.
The Cavaliers released a statement Friday afternoon addressing the lawsuit, stating that their decision not to exercise the option on Boylan's contact was "a right that was fully and completely negotiated and executed in accordance with terms of the contract."
"After Mr. Boyland hired [Cleveland law firm Thorman Petrov Group], Christopher Thorman wrote to the Cavaliers initially to 'informally' resolve matters related to Mr. Boylan's employment, only to then follow up with an outrageous written demand for $6.174 million dollars," the team said in a statement. "The demand was a precursor to a threat to file a lawsut in the misguided hopes that emabrassing the Cavaliers by publishing Ty Lue's voicemail would motivate a settlement. Thorman followed through with this threat yesterday."
"The outrageousness of Mr. Boylan's claim of 'age discrimination' due to the Cavaliers not exercising an option is a contract both parties signed cannot be overstated," the Cavaliers added. "The only fact that exceeds the egregiousness of Mr. Boylan's claim that he is owed any further compensation from the Cavaliers is the extortion attempts by Christopher Thorman demanding $6.174 million dollars when, had the one-year option been exercised for the 2018-2019 season, Mr. Boylan would have been paid $500,000 for his services. Mr. Thorman, as well as his law firm Thorman Petrov Group, has a pattern and practice of deploying these types of strategies. This frivolous lawsuit is simply an opportunistically-timed effort at a shameless cash grab. The team will seek immediate dismissal of this disappointing, unwarranted and baseless claim."
The team turned to 60-year-old assistant Larry Drew as the acting head coach after Lue was fired on Sunday, but he may not remain in that role for long. Drew previously told reporters that he did not want to serve as the team's interim coach through the rest of the season unless a long-term agreement was reached.
The Cavaliers started the season 0–6 before a 136–114 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Oct. 30. Cleveland plays the Hornets on the road on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.